The sun rises on Isla’s last day of life, and it is revealed that Isla and Tsukasa had seemingly spent the night going through Isla’s journal and discussing all of her memories. Despite the imminence of her demise, the pair moves on to cleaning their apartment, which then leads to a playful bath time (don’t worry—there is nothing worse that Tsukasa’s chest shown) before the two head off to work. Presumably, Isla wanted to spend her last day as normally as possible, given that she said something similar in the previous episode. Kazuki won’t have it, though, and she revokes Isla’s work badge, forcing her and Tsukasa to leave work for the day. Instead of working, they end up spending their last day together at the amusement park, and as time begins to wear on, the reality of the situation takes its full grasp on Tsukasa. The episode finally breaks the emotional dam as our doomed couple sits in the ferris wheel where their first date ended. Although the inevitable conclusion does come about, the writers were at least gracious enough to not leave us there—be sure to watch after the credits for a happier (and somewhat mysterious) conclusion.
One thing Plastic Memories has managed to do well is to keep the viewer aware of Isla’s impending doom while also keeping so much cute, feel good content around that it becomes easy to forget what is coming… or at least to deny it for the duration of the episode. That doesn’t particularly change here, as the early part of the episode shows Isla and Tsukasa enjoying their time together while cleaning, bathing, going to work, deciding what to do once they’re kicked out of work, and playing at the amusement park. It’s not until the sun begins to set and Tsukasa notices the growing length of his shadow that the tone of the episode really begins to shift. Let’s be honest, somewhere in the backs of our minds we were all hoping for a magical solution to Isla’s fate. Plastic Memories does not concede.
To be honest, I did not catch the fact that Isla’s last day meant that this was the day she would die. I suppose her leaving the letters one everyone’s desk (and, more telling, on Tsukasa’s counter) should have been a dead giveaway, but my initial thought was that this would be her last full day alive. The ending coming up this way was a bit more surprising. The show also deserves credit for not shying away from the pain of these events. While Tsukasa has kept a pretty brave face up until this point, he begins to lose it at the aforementioned shadow scene, and eventually fully loses it in the ferriswheel. Isla had realized what he was doing, and she made it possible for him to finally let go, which also gave her a chance to see his crying face.
I realize that much of this review has focused on the latter part of the episode, but that really is where it has its impact. While the first half is certainly enjoyable—providing us with one last hurrah in our favorite couple’s lives—the second half finally stops playing games and deals with what we have all been expecting. In short, it’s where the meat of the episode lies, and watching Isla and Tsukasa’s final moments together will likely draw tears from all but the most hardened viewers. The impact of Isla’s death isn’t wasted, either. It gives Tsukasa a new perspective on life, and his changed character can be seen in the epilogue. The only part of the final episode that may leave viewers frustrated is the mystery character introduced in the last few seconds, whose face we are never shown…
Plastic Memories may not have been the perfect show. What started as a sci-fi show complete with antagonists and all quickly turned into a tragic romantic comedy, with the former elements almost completely dropped in the process. The transition could have been done more smoothly, and other elements could have been left out (or the show could have been given 25-26 episodes to more fully flesh out the world while pursuing the romantic relationship), but the things the show does well far outweigh the things it doesn’t. The show made good use of its supporting cast and, once it started on its intended path, it stayed there until completion. Although not the best anime to ever be made, it is certainly worth your time to check out.
A Christian Perspective:
Ecclesiastes 3:4 – a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
Tsukasa exhibits similar behaviors to these throughout this episode. During his fun times with Isla he is clearly enjoying himself. He may not actually be laughing, but the spirit of laughter (happiness) is certainly there. At the appropriate time, he begins to weep, and of course once Isla is gone, he mourns. But he doesn’t stay there. As the verse above says, there is a time for these things, and eventually those times pass, and we must move on. Tsukasa learns from Isla. He learns to make the most of his time, and he becomes stronger for it. If the Giftia at the end of the epilogue is indeed a reformatted Isla, then Tsukasa’s composed reception really does show that he has had his time to mourn and has moved past it.
I’ll be honest, I am not good with death. This episode left a heavy weight on my mind once it was over, even though I knew Isla’s death was coming, and had known for some time. Ironically, I think I’ve handled real life deaths better than I handled this fictitious death. My grandfather is a good example. I watched him ebb and flow for two weeks before he finally passed away, with the hope of him living being held over my head for that period of time. Yet, despite that, I was not the emotional wreck I expected to be when he did die. I will say that I held back my tears when I wanted to shed them most, because I wanted to give my dad the room he needed to cry. While I did cry a bit in my room (this was before I was married and living on my own) while praying, I don’t think I ever fully mourned. Whether this story adds anything to the point or not, I don’t know. I really wasn’t sure what to say, and having such a skimpy perspective on the final episode seems weak. If nothing else, let it serve as a story of what not to do when you lose someone (and as a contrast to how Tsukasa handled his situation).
Spiritual Content: None
Language: 1 “j**z”, 1 “h*ll”
Alcohol/Drug Use: None
Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Isla and Tsukasa are shown in the bath together; however, the most you see is Tsukasa’s bare chest, as he and Isla are wearing towels; Eru cleavage
Violence: Kazuki puts Tsukasa in a headlock